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We describe fabrication and characterization of an electroabsorption (EA) light modulator (LM) with a strip-loaded GaInAsP planar waveguide. The EA LM's were fabricated from hydride vapor-phase-epitaxy (VPE) grown wafers. The electroabsorption, the insertion loss, the electrical properties, and the modulation characteristics were investigated for the EA LM's. The drive voltage at a 99-percent modulation depth has been noticeably reduced to 4.5 V by optimizing the thicknesses of the epitaxial layers. The total capacitance of 1.5 pF was obtained by inserting an insulating film under the wire-bonding pad and by improving the mount design. Consequently, a 3-dB bandwidth of 3.8 GHz has been achieved and a pulse modulation operation under 2 Gbit/s nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ) pseudorandom pattern has also been confirmed. Moreover, the dynamic spectra of the EA modulators were measured for the first time. A spectral broadening factor α has been determined to be 1-4 from a relative strength of the sideband to the carrier and it has been experimentally found to decrease with increasing the electric field inside the absorptive waveguide. As the other measures of merit for the EA LM's, the extinction ratio over 23 dB and the insertion loss of 10-14 dB including a coupling loss due to an end-fire method were obtained. As a whole, these results have exhibited that the EA LM is a promising external modulator which will be monolithically integrated into a gigabit per second optical source with a dynamic single-mode laser.